Opportunity Is Possible

By Rev. Brian Postlewait, CEO, Mission Possible

The stereotypical panhandling encounter on the street goes like this:  Man stands on the street looking downcast and gritty. He carries a sign saying, “Hungry and homeless.  Spare change?”  Man with three-piece suit walks by. With barely a glance he mutters, not so subtly, “Get a job.” 

It’s easy to walk through Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside with the same stereotypical impulse.  This community struggles every day with the challenges of mental illness, disability, precarious housing, and addiction.  These challenges are coupled with stories of abuse, trauma, abandonment, and the tragic aftermath of residential schools. 

Yet the truth is that many ARE overcoming these challenges and looking for a ladder out of poverty.  Many ARE looking for a job.  Most would trade dependency for opportunity any day of the week. 

“Want me to get a job? Give me an opportunity.”

That is exactly what Mission Possible is doing. 

Forty-seven is the number of local residents Mission Possible employed this past year.  Through our award winning social enterprise, MP Maintenance, these individuals provided exterior maintenance services like pressure washing, graffiti removal, and landscaping.  They walked the streets of the Downtown Eastside as fully licensed security officers in MP’s innovative community watch program, MP Neighbours.  They collected organic materials for local businesses to make high-quality market-ready gardening compost.

Many dozens more recycled gently used soaps from the hospitality industry, repurposing them for communities of need around the world.  They created beautiful works of art through MP StudioWorks—building community and encouraging small scale entrepreneurship.  Many invested in this community through volunteering their time by visiting people in the hospital, providing compassionate peer-support, and by serving thousands of community meals. 

These opportunities are a foundation for real transformation of body and soul. 

Resist the stereotypical impulse.  Opportunity is Possible.

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